Malcolm Turnbull pledged to ‘get on with it’ and introduce gay marriage minutes after Australia overwhelmingly voted yes.
The Prime Minister planned to ram legislation through parliament by Christmas to reflect the will of 12.7 million Australians.
‘They have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality. They voted yes for fairness. They voted yes for commitment. They voted yes for love,’ he said.
Malcolm Turnbull pledged to ‘get on with it’ and introduce gay marriage minutes after Australia overwhelmingly voted yes
Australia has voted to approve gay marriage after a majority of the population voted ‘yes’ in a controversial postal vote. Celebrations broke out across the nation immediately after the result was announced (State Library of Victoria pictured)
‘Now it is up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do and get this done, this year before Christmas.’
Mr Turnbull praised the massive 79.5 per cent participation rate and called the result ‘unequivocal’ with 61.6 per cent voting yes.
‘I say to all Australians whatever your views on this issue may be, we must respect the voice of the people,’ he said.
‘We ask them for it, and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal. It is overwhelming. They are our Masters.
‘We are who elected to Parliament, it is our job now to get on with it. Get on with it and get this done.’
Mr Turnbull praised the massive 79.5 per cent participation rate and called the result ‘unequivocal’ with 61.6 per cent voting yes
LOVE: Marriage equality supporters kissed in Prince Alfred Park, Sydney, as the historic result was announced
Mr Turnbull, himself a strong supporter of gay marriage, acknowledged that 38.4 per cent of voters were opposed, but noted the democratic result.
‘Now, I know that many people, a minority obviously, voted no. But we are a fair nation,’ he said.
‘There is nothing more Australian than a fair go. There is nothing more Australian than equality and mutual respect.’
The Prime Minister didn’t miss the opportunity to score political points either, nothing that the Labor Party didn’t want the $122 million postal vote.
‘Every one has had their say. That’s what we pledged at the last election. Many people stood in our way. The Labor Party, a number of people on the crossbench and others,’ he said.
Celebration: Tens of thousands of people adorned in rainbow flags and wearing ‘Yes’ badges gathered at iconic landmarks in every capital city of Australia
Lesbian Brisbane couple Kate Wildermuth and Kristen Watt (pictured) were not able to celebrate the historic result asKate was in hospital for IVF treatment
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described the result as a ‘fabulous day to be an Australian’.
‘Australians have voted for a generous view of themselves, for a modern Australia, where diversity is accepted, supported and respected,’ he told a marriage equality rally in Melbourne.
‘And I just want to make one promise, one promise: today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate.’
Parliamentary debate to legalise same-sex marriage could begin as early as Thursday.
A cross-party group of senators – led by Liberal Dean Smith and supported by senior Labor figure Penny Wong, among others – would introduce a private bill to the upper house on Wednesday afternoon.
This means debate could start on Thursday morning, the Senate’s usual time for considering private bills.
Bill Shorten was at the forefront of celebrations in Melbourne, wearing a ‘Yes’ vote badge and raising his fist high in the air and describing the result as a ‘fabulous day to be an Australian’
‘This is for all of us’: TV star and marriage equality campaigner Magda Szubanski gave a passionate speech after the result was announced
Mr Turnbull and other senior government ministers are backing the Smith bill as a good ‘starting point’ for debate.
It had the advantage of having been around for some months now, the prime minister said unlike an alternative bill proposed by conservative Liberal James Patterson.
‘People know what is in it and they know what its virtues are. If they have problems in it they can move amendments to correct the defects,’ Mr Turnbull said.
Australian Bureau of Statistics boss David Kalisch revealed the result to parliament in Canberra on Wednesday, prompting widespread celebrations as supporters gathered at iconic landmarks in every capital city of Australia.
Tens of thousands of people adorned in rainbow flags and wearing ‘Yes’ badges cheered outside of the State Library of Victoria, Prince Alfred Park in Sydney and Queens Garden in Brisbane as the result was announced.
The onus will now be on politicians to pass a bill in Parliament to legalise same-sex marriage.
The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden and Canada have already changed their marriage laws.
Close to eight million people voted ‘Yes’ while 4.8 million voted ‘No’. NSW was the only state to record less than a 60 per cent result in favour of same-sex marriage